Kaine Robertson claimed the third try for Italy
Scotland: (10) 17
Tries: Dewey, Paterson
Cons: Paterson 2
Italy: (24) 37
Tries: Bergamasco, Scanavacca, Robertson, Troncon
Cons: Scanavacca 4
Pens: Scanavacca 3
Scotland handed Italy their first away win in the Six Nations with a suicidal first six minutes at Murrayfield.
They gifted tries to Mauro Bergamasco, Andrea Scanavacca and Kaine Robertson to trail 21-0.
Tries from Rob Dewey and captain Chris Paterson helped the hosts cut the gap to 24-17 after an hour.
But two penalties from Scanavacca, who kicked 17 points, and a late try from scrum-half Alessandro Troncon made the game safe for Italy.
Scotland started to self-destruct after just 18 seconds.
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Fly-half Phil Godman tried a hugely ambitious chip over the on-rushing Italian defence inside his own 22.
Mauro Bergamasco, back on the Italian flank after injury, charged it down and gathered the bouncing ball to score.
A bad situation soon got a whole lot worse for the Scots as Chris Cusiter twice handed gift-wrapped tries to the Italians.
First his pop pass to Dewey was intercepted by Scanavacca, who scampered over under the posts.
And the scrum-half then compounded his error by floating out a hugely ambitious pass to Hugo Southwell which Robertson pounced on before streaking over for the third try.
Scanavacca was on target with all three conversions and the Azzurri led 21-0 with 74 minutes still to play.
Scotland managed to cut the gap after 13 minutes when Dewey scored a controversial try.
The inside centre, all 17st 4lb of him, made the most of a block from referee Donal Courtenay and burst through the Italian midfield defence to score, after some hesitation, with Paterson converting.
Despite losing Simon Taylor to the sin-bin Scotland had much the better of territory and possession, but some powerful Italian defence and impotent attacking combined to keep them at bay.
Paterson spurned the chance to kick several penalties before finally slotting one on the stroke of half-time to make it 24-10 at the break, Scanavacca having landed an earlier effort for the visitors.
Scotland redoubled their efforts after the break but looked lightweight until they switched an attack to the blind side on the hour mark.
Paterson flew through a yawning gap before out-pacing the cover for a fine try and his conversion trimmed the gap to seven points with a quarter of the match to go.
It looked as though Scotland might save themselves, but the score prompted the visitors to go on the offensive.
The powerful Italian pack earned the chance for Scanavacca to slot two simple penalties.
And he was on target again with the conversion after the veteran Troncon burrowed his way over late on as Italy claimed only their fourth win since joining the Six Nations in 2000.
Scotland: Southwell; Lamont, Di Rollo, Dewey, Paterson; Godman, Cusiter; Callam, Brown, Taylor, S Murray, Hines, E Murray, Hall, Kerr.
Replacements: Ford, Jacobsen, Hamilton, Hogg, Lawson, Henderson, Walker.
Italy: De Marigny; Robertson, Canale, Mirco Bergamasco, Masi; Scanavacca, Troncon; Parisse, Mauro Bergamasco, Zanni, Bortolami, Dellape, Castrogiovanni, Festuccia, Lo Cicero.
Replacements: Ongaro, Perugini, Nieto, Bernabo, Zaffiri, Griffen, Pez.
Referee: Donal Courtney (Leinster)